By: Melody Charles
Tired, too through and so over trying to get this relationship thang right: that’s the type of woman who emerges front and center when Carmen Rodgers sings liltingly of broken promises and weary hearts on her recently-released EP, The Bitter Suite.
The Dallas-based singer, songwriter and performer, who first captured the attention of many with her debut, Free, will release a full-length CD, Intermission, next month, but makes sure that The Bitter Suite lives up to its purpose, which is whetting the appetite for her musicality, stirring vocals and her unhurried, melodic approach to the songs and the subject matter.
“It’s just more of me this time around. It’s about not caring anymore, throwing caution to the wind and being free. And even though my first album was called ‘Free,’, I wouldn’t say I was as free as I am right now,” expresses Carmen.
Yes, the sister is mad and not about to take it anymore, but one could hardly tell due to the way she drips her honeyed soprano over the barbed lyrics, such as the dis-and-dismiss anthem, “Tell Your Story” (“Tell your story at the door / ’cause I’ve heard it all before / and now I’m not so sure if I want this love anymore”), the resolved resignation found in “Home” (“You say you want to come home / but home is where the heart lived / and I just want to move on / so should you”) and in the interludes peppered throughout the EP.
They may be unnerving to the male listeners, but those “war council” moments, recorded during actual conversations with friends, may actually keep the more intelligent ones from making the type of mistakes that she’s singing about.
Carmen has some wonderful advice for her fellow independents.
“I would just say make sure you’re building longstanding relationships with integrity, because they can really open doors. Club owners, promoters, musicians, studios and producers, so you can grt things done. As independent artists we don’t have the same budgets and resources, so you need to lean on those relationships to make things happen.
Be open to being to being rejected, you have to have a tough skin and tell yourself, ‘you know what, eventually, that ‘no’ is going to turn into a ‘yes.’ ‘ You have to believe in your ability and work, practice and study. You’re gonna have to hone your craft. I had to learn the hard way that I can’t always be a fan, I have to be the artist too. You have to write, you have to vocalize, you have to practice in front of that mirror with that track,” she states.
Full of pensiveness and pain, The Bitter Suite is a intriguing prelude to her next project because there’s just enough tenderness mixed in with the toughened exterior to draw the listener back for more. So stretch out, turn it up and indulge.